Holy Family Catholic Wins Third Consecutive Central Championship

Posted: May 18, 2014 09:38 PM

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The day started off much like Saturday, sunny and pleasant, but wind picked up throughout the day, starting to really impact games by the semifinals at 10:30 a.m.

Championship Bracket (Scoreboard)

The play-in games to the semifinals were played with a gentle to moderate crosswind.  Hopkins was the favorite on one side, Cathedral on the other. 


Hopkins vs. Robbinsdale Armstrong

Hopkins continued with their game plan that had been so successful on Saturday: up-line cuts to hucks. Armstrong threw on a tight cup whenever they got a chance, slowing down the Hopkins deep game. Hopkins’ handlers had the throws to work it through, but usually opted for the deep shot, given their previous success. Armstrong’s Hannah Cowan dominated the air despite her modest 5’6" height. Hopkins’ Claire Smart made a few of the deep shots work with layout catches of deflected discs, but overall, Hopkins’ hucking strategy was unsuccessful. Armstrong used their speed and hops to get good position or to make grabs despite poor position. Armstrong also was looking to huck but was choosier with targets, trying to put discs to space rather than count on receivers to make plays. Final Score: 12-6 Armstrong.

Cathedral vs. Minneapolis South

In the other play-in game, Cathedral took an early 2-0 lead over South, but the game became closer thanks to multiple turnovers on both sides. However, Cathedral looked a bit sharper, with Anne Johnson again playing the role of primary thrower and cleaning up anything in the air on defense. Another instrumental player, Paula Kowitz was a frequent target, who used her height and some excellent snags to reel in throws that would have been out of reach for anyone else. Final Score: 9-5 Cathedral.


The semifinals matched up teams that had yet to play each other in this tournament, Pool A winner Holy Family Catholic versus Pool B runner-up Armstrong and Pool B winner Neuqua Valley versus Pool A runner up Cathedral. Around this time, the wind also began to pick up and shift to a more upwind-downwind direction.

Holy Family Catholic vs. Armstrong

Armstrong scored a quick one down wind, and their zone was effective early on. But once Omega’s arsenal of throws, including hammers and high-release backhands, could get around, through or over the cup, it put Armstrong behind the disc and Omega ready to run it to the end zone. After minor adjustments, Holy Family took the half 7-2. Armstrong continued to fight, putting in three more down-winders in the second half, but Omega’s polish and lack of mistakes continued to increase their lead. Final Score: 13-5 Holy Family Catholic.

Cathedral vs. Neuqua Valley

Cathedral threw a zone, and Neuqua Valley had trouble working the disc. NV relied heavily on Kelly Crowley to make plays on both sides of the disc. While NV seemed to be more athletic overall, Cathedral worked hard and came up with scrappy play. NV made enough mistakes that Cathedral’s huck-and-play-defense strategy worked to great effect, though points were very long, with double-digit turnovers. Final score: 8-5 Cathedral.


Holy Family Catholic vs. Cathedral

Finals started with pretty strict upwind-downwind directions. Cathedral had a number of players out with injuries but still had a lot of energy throughout their team. Cathedral pulled downwind to start, pinning Holy Family clear in the back of the end zone. The Omega girls worked the disc all the way down with short, patient throws through the zone, only to have a drop on a tough-to-catch pass right on the end zone line. Cathedral turned it quickly, and this time, Holy Family put it in easily. This could have set the tone of the game, but Cathedral showed a lot of grit and traded points until just before the half when Holy Family got another up-winder. Points were much longer than Holy Family had played in previous games, partly because of wind, partly because Cathedral simply refused to give in. Annie Johnson was everywhere on defense, anticipating any throw longer than 15 yards and claiming it for herself. On the other side of the disc, she worked it with Hannah Deaton whose great hands, quick up-line cuts and touch flicks were a big part of the Phoenix offense. Holy Family seemed to spread touches around more evenly, but Kjersti Fry seemed to be there to bail out the thrower on any high count, provide the continue cut or be racing downfield to keep momentum going. On defense, she made sure there was rarely an open lane for Cathedral. Sara Friemoth also gets props for harrying Annie Johnson and not allowing her any easy cuts or throws. Both teams were starting to show some fatigue near the end – cuts still looked sharp, defense was still putting on pressure, but throws were not as sharp, and in the wind, small miscues were magnified. Cathedral fought to the bitter end, with the last point in hard cap lasting over 25 minutes.  Cathedral scored it, but Holy Family became Centrals champions for the third consecutive year. Final Score: 10-7 Holy Family Catholic.


Armstrong vs. Neuqua Valley

In the third-place game, Armstrong and Neuqua Valley were fairly evenly matched in terms of speed, throwing and field sense. The two teams traded downwind points to 4-4, with the real challenge remaining of who could score the up-winder; it was NV, and they followed with the downwind break to take half at 7-4. Armstrong was knocking on the door at least twice in the second half but couldn’t quite put it in. The Armstrong zone that had given NV trouble in pool play did the same early on, but NV started to swing the disc wider to get opportunities. NV’s Maggie Stachewicz and Kelly Crowley provided calm, disciplined handling to get the job done. Both teams had amazing sideline presence and positivity. Final score: 10-7 Neuqua Valley.

Hopkins vs. Minneapolis South

Hopkins and South played for fifth place, and with an early upwind break and the subsequent down-winder, it looked like South had this game in hand, but Hopkins performed the double break before half to put the score back on serve. South had plenty of energy and used it well to run fast breaks after getting turns in the zone. In the wind, South’s 6’0" Helen Walz was useful in the "hanging disc scrum." The game was tied at 8s when hard cap went on, and with South going downwind, they sealed the deal, despite tough defense that forced a number of turnovers from Hopkins. Final score: 9-8 South.

7th-9th-Place Round Robin

James Madison Memorial, Minneapolis Southwest and St. Paul Charter played all games to hard cap with the dominant strategy to punt downwind and play defense. In the first game of the day, the wind was less of a factor, and James Madison was able to earn a number of breaks. Madison looked energetic in the first and last rounds, despite the long points. Southwest often used zone to limit the downwind deep shots and force more throws going upwind. Especially in the first game, Madison seemed to select better targets for their deep shots, while Southwest and St. Paul were trying not to give the other team a short field. St. Paul lost two close games, having to play both of them in the brisk wind. The final rankings ended with James Madison Memorial in seventh place, Southwest in eighth and St. Paul Charter in ninth.


Photos by CBMT Creative

2014 High School Centrals - Images by CBMT creative



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